With all the comic book talk focusing on the end of the Walking Dead series, a pretty significant event was overlooked. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #95 we see the first appearance of a female turtle… well kinda. It was the first time a female humanoid was transformed into a turtle. Jennika is a ninja chūnin of Splinter’s Foot Clan and love interest to Casey Jones. An emergency blood transfusion from Leonardo mixed with mutagen and ooze not only saved her life, but transformed her into a humanoid turtle. The San Diego Comic-Con variant of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #95 spotlighting the final page on the cover sold out before the show. IDW has announced they will not be selling copies at San Diego Comic-Con. Jennika’s first appearance in human form (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51) and the first issue where she was named (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #52) are also starting to become highly sought after. Jennika will be the turtle wearing a yellow mask.
As I mentioned above, this is the first time a female human was transformed into a turtle. It is not the first time there has been a female turtle though. One of the most prominent is Venus de Milo. The story has it there were five turtles exposed to mutagen in the sewers. Splinter did not see her when he gathered up all the turtles. She was able to make her way to Chinatown where she was discovered shinobi (another word for ninja) magician called Chung I. Chung I took her with him to China. He named her Mei Pieh Chi and raised her as a daughter. He trained her in the art of Shinobi. She would later return to New York and team up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appearing in the television series, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.
Most people have not heard of Venus de Milo. That is largely due to Peter Laird’s supposed dislike of the character. Image Comics series writer, Gary Carlson has said he only received a few rules on what not to do. One of those rules was “No female turtles”. TMNT animated film director, Kevin Munroe said “There’s absolutely no mention of Venus de Milo, the female turtle. You can’t even joke about that with Peter. It’s just one of those things that he hates with a passion”.
In Archie Comics TMNT Adventures Special Number 11 (Winter 1994) aliens turn April O’neil into a female turtle. April wore a white mask during her time as a ninja turtle. They find a cure by the end of the story of course, and April is returned to human form.
It remains to be seen if Jennika being a turtle will be a permanent thing or if she will revert back to human form. It is a comic book and they can make drastic changes on a whim. It wouldn’t be the first time the TMNT series has done an about face either. It wasn’t so long ago that they killed off Donatello only to bring him back quickly. I am curious to see if Jennika joins up with the brothers or if her mutation is enough to sway her over to Karai’s side. Either way, it should be an interesting story as they work their way toward issue #100.
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